Using Google Charts in an Alpha Anywhere App: The Benefits of Open Design and Support for HTML5

Custom mobile application development demands flexibility. That's why we built Alpha Anywhere on an open, standards-based  architecture.

Our goal in building Alpha Anywhere was to offer a robust and complete environment for rapidly building and deploying responsive HTML5 and wrapped HTML5 business apps for desktops and mobile devices.

We wanted to make sure that for the vast majority of custom mobile application development scenarios, all of the tools that a developer would need were built right into Alpha Anywhere.

At the same time, we realized that in a fast moving world, it's important not to lock people in with a closed design, but rather offer them an open architecture. One  that takes advantage of standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

A great example of the benefits of this approach can be found in the two videos below, which were recorded by Alpha Software Co-founder and President Selwyn Rabins. He recorded the videos in response to requests from customers who wanted to know; "Can we use Google Charts instead of the .NET charts that ship with Alpha Anywhere?"

The videos are shown below after examples of some of the Google Charts that can be built into Alpha Anywhere applications:

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Using Google Charts as an Alternative to the Built-in Chart Controls in Alpha Anywhere

Alpha Anywhere contains a powerful built-in chart control (based on the Microsoft .NET visualization library). This is a 'server-side' control (meaning that the chart is rendered on the server and then the resulting image is sent to the browser.

However, there may be times when you want 'client-side' charting (i.e. charts that are rendered using JavaScript). The Google Chart API is perfect for this. (Note: There are number of high quality open source JavaScript libraries that you can choose from.)

In this video we show how you can use the Google Chart API to add client-side charts to a UX component.

Using SQL data in a Google Chart

In the last video, Selwyn demonstrated how easy it is to use Google Charts in Alpha Anywhere by simply copying code from the Google Charts API documentation. However, in all of the examples in the Google Chart API documentation, the data plotted by the chart is static (i.e. it is hard coded into the JavaScript).

Of course, in a real custom mobile application development scenario, it is likely that you will want to query a SQL database to get the data to be plotted on the chart. In this video we show an example of how this can be done.

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About Author

Richard Rabins
Richard Rabins

Co-founder of Alpha Software, Richard Rabins focuses on strategy, sales, and marketing. Richard also served as CEO of SoftQuad International from 1997 to 2001, when it owned Alpha. In addition to his 30 years with the company, Richard played a key role as co-founder, and served as president and chairman of the Massachusetts Software Council (now the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council), the largest technology trade organization in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Alpha, Richard was a project leader and consultant with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), and a management consultant with Management Decision Systems, Inc. Richard holds a master's degree in system dynamics from the Sloan School at MIT, and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in control engineering from University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has served on the boards of Silent Systems, Legacy Technology and O3B Networks, and is co-founder of Tubifi

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